Back on home soil, Amanda Anisimova is already knocking out Top 10 opposition at the Western & Southern Open. The American, ranked World No.23, dispatched No.9 seed Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-4 in their 1-hour and 19-minute first-round match.
Fast facts: Anisimova is now 3-0 against recent San Jose champion Kasatkina, and 6-0 in sets. The 20-year-old New Jersey native defeated Kasatkina in straight sets at 2020 Auckland and dropped only two games in her semifinal victory at Melbourne Summer Set 2 earlier this year.
Anisimova continued her mastery of World No.10 Kasatkina in Cincinnati, firing 33 winners to just five from her opponent. Anisimova did drop serve four times, but she also converted six of her seven break points to take home the victory.
The win marks Anisimova's seventh Top 10 win of her career, four of those coming in her resurgent 2022. Anisimova has won 33 matches on tour this season, the fourth-most among all players. This year, she won the Melbourne Summer Set 2 title and also reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Key plays: Anisimova saw a first-set lead slip from 3-1 to 4-4, but the American surged at the end of the opener. Anisimova slammed a forehand winner to complete a love hold for 5-4, then ended a rally with a winner from her backhand side to break for the one-set lead.
A similar scenario occurred in the second set, where a series of powerful forehands gave Anisimova another 5-4 lead. Kasatkina led 40-30 in the next game, but an Anisimova passing winner brought her to deuce, and two forehand winners in succession allowed her to close out the match from there.
Next up: Anisimova will face a fellow American in the second round, as she will take on the winner of the first-round match between 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and Shelby Rogers, who is currently ranked at a career-high No.30.
Alexandrova rallies to beat Fernandez
No.27 Ekaterina Alexandrova mounted a pair of comebacks to defeat No.13 seed Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 7-5 in the first round. Alexandrova will face either Naomi Osaka or Zhang Shuai in the second round.
Playing her first tournament since Berlin, Alexandrova rallied from 3-0 down in the first set and 5-1 down in the second set to upend Fernandez and level their head-to-head 1-1. Fernandez served for the second set twice, but Alexandrova wiped out two set points to prolonge the set, ultimately winning the last six games of the match.
A champion in s'Hertogenbosch, Alexandrova came into Cincinnati just two spots below her career-high ranking of No.25. Her win over Fernandez is her fourth Top 20 win of the season.